Declaration adopted at the Fourth League of Arab States – European Union Ministerial Meeting
Cairo, 20/12/2016 – 18:20 – UNIQUE ID: 161220_11
20 December 2016
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the European Union (EU) and of the League of Arab States (LAS), gathering at the League of Arab States headquarters on December 20, 2016 in Cairo, Egypt, under the Chairmanship of H.E. Khemaies Jhinaoui, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Tunisia, H.E. Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, and H.E. Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Secretary General of the League of Arab States:
• 23. The Ministers recognized the particularities of the various political processes taking place in the Arab countries and agreed that each of them should be addressed individually. The Ministers shared their concern on the deadlock of some regional crises.
24. Middle East Peace Process (MEPP)
• The Ministers reaffirmed the need for a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East, in line with all relevant UN resolutions, especially UNSC resolutions 242, 338, 1397 and, 1515, and land for peace, while highlighting the strategic importance of the Arab Peace Initiative adopted in 2002 and recalled inter alia relevant Conclusions of the Council of the European Union related to the MEPP.
• The Ministers underlined that the realization of a two-state solution is the only way to achieve an enduring peace and to that end the international community should work with all relevant stakeholders to end the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and resolve all permanent status issues. The Ministers expressed concern that trends on the ground are dangerously imperiling the viability of that solution. They condemned all acts of violence and terror.
• The Ministers called for an enhanced role of the International Community, including the UN Security Council, the Middle East Quartet, the French initiative and the Egyptian efforts. The Ministers welcomed the Joint Communiqué adopted at the ministerial meeting in Paris on 3 June 2016, where participants discussed possible ways in which the international community could help advance the prospects for peace and welcomed the convening of an International Peace Conference soon. They emphasized the importance of the role of civil society from both sides.
• The Ministers reaffirmed their shared position that Israeli settlement policy, including in occupied East Jerusalem, and related actions such as demolitions and confiscation – including of EU funded projects – and forced transfers are illegal under international law, constitute an obstacle to peace and endanger the viability of the two-state solution. In view of this, the Ministers strongly opposed Israeli plans to construct and expand settlements in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem, and urged Israel not to adopt legislation which would allow for the "legalisation" of outposts and settlements in the occupied West Bank by confiscating private Palestinian property rights, which could have far reaching consequences. The Ministers recalled the importance of upholding the historic status quo for the Holy Sites, with particular regard to the Custodianship of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan as reconfirmed in the agreement between HM King Abdullah II and President Mahmoud Abbas.
• The Ministers also called to respect of the rules of international law, international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and Geneva Convention of 1949, including with respect for all Palestinian and Arab prisoners and detainees, especially juveniles, in Israel prisons. They called for the release of prisoners in accordance with previous agreements and an end to excessive use of administrative detention in contravention of international law.
• The Ministers called for all parties to take swift steps to produce a fundamental change to the humanitarian, political, security and economic situation in the Gaza Strip, including the end of the closure and a full opening of the crossing points in accordance with access and movement agreement of 2005, and accelerate the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip.
• The Ministers welcomed the EU commitment to ensure continued, full and effective implementation of existing EU legislation and bilateral arrangements applicable to settlements products, as well as the EU commitment to ensure that – in line with international law – all agreements between the State of Israel and the EU must unequivocally and explicitly indicate their inapplicability to the territories occupied by Israel in 1967.
• The Ministers welcomed the Palestinian efforts exerted to build and strengthen State institutions, as well as the commitment of Palestine to uphold democratic principles and human rights, which is represented in its accession to international treaties and conventions. The Ministers also agreed on the need to continue politically and financially supporting the Palestinian government. The Ministers called on Israel to enable accelerated Palestinian construction, as well as social and economic development in Area C.
• The Ministers called for sustained support for UNRWA to be able to continue performing its mandate and responsibilities in the relief and works of Palestinian refugees at all levels.
Document Type: Declaration
Document Sources: European Union (EU), League of Arab States (LAS)
Subject: Access and movement, Annexation, Boundaries and demarcation lines, Closures/Curfews/Blockades, Fourth Geneva Convention, Gaza Strip, Governance, Holy places, House demolitions, Human rights and international humanitarian law, Internally displaced persons, Jerusalem, Land, Legal issues, Occupation, Peace process, Peace proposals and efforts, Quartet, Settlements, Statehood-related
Publication Date: 20/12/2016